I know of few things more exhausting than being around someone who expects others to keep them happy at all times. Being around them requires a constant high-wire act. One wrong step and you’re plummeting down into the land of “What does that face mean?” or “This isn’t the gift I wanted!” or “Why didn’t you return my text right away?”
Unfortunately, all of us act at times like other people are responsible for our happiness. If you’ve ever caught yourself thinking (or saying), “I would be so much happier if my partner…” or “I’m unhappy because my partner…” you have fallen prey to making your partner responsible for your happiness.
You may have noticed that two people can have the same thing happen to them and one will be unhappy while the other one won’t. This is the strongest evidence I know against the idea that other people create our happiness or unhappiness. What matters for our happiness is not what others do, but how we react.
This is a frustrating truth when you are upset. It’s much easier to blame someone else than to recognize the part our reaction is playing, especially when the other person has done something thoughtless or unkind. The good news, though, is that the fact that you are responsible for your own happiness means that your happiness is under your control. You do not have to be unhappy when your partner comes home grumpy. You do not have to be unhappy when your partner is unhappy with you. The list could go on and on.
When you take responsibility for your own happiness, you not only create a happier environment for yourself, but you also take a lot of pressure off of your partner. Your partner can have a bad day without having to take care of your bad mood on top of their own. They can also relax around you, knowing that if they accidentally say or do something wrong, you can handle it. They can step down from the tight rope. That means that this strategy is not only wonderful for you, but also one of the kindest gifts you can give your partner.